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City shouldn't blow opportunity

Letters to the editor

Interesting that Target is not seen in the same negative light as Walmart (Target could be fit for downtown, Oct. 21).

I didn't know that Target was No. 2 just after Walmart, but for whatever reason I have considered Walmart to be more of a low-income store and Target a middle-class store. Interesting, too, that the Galleria is being considered as a location. The size and address make it an excellent location downtown, but sharing the building with Brooks Brothers and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts seems odd.

This is an opportunity that benefits everyone. One can only hope that the city doesn't screw this opportunity into the ground based upon some political rationale.

Larry Norton

Northwest Portland

Business should be welcomed

Ah, the argument continues with this 'local vs. corporate' businesses (Target could be fit for downtown, Oct. 21). Well if the locals want only small local businesses, where the heck are they and how many of them are taking up new or additional space?

Any business should be welcome if it provides goods or services that the masses need/want. I say bring on a large firm if it means more choices and employment opportunities, albeit most would be minimum-wage positions.

Limiting opportunities is not an efficient use of capital or resources, and in this situation, hopefully the landlord lands a large tenant that can fill the space. The landlord is a local owner, and he has a mortgage to pay also.

The 'local only' mantra is not 'sustainable.'

Waiman Eng

Southeast Portland

Negative article shows bias

As a satisfied participant in the Clean Energy Works program, I am dismayed by the apparent negative slant of your article about the program (Long on promise, shy on results, Oct. 14).

Though it did finally mention some of its successes toward the end of the article, the title and first several leading paragraphs all but declare it a complete failure. Since it is generally known that many readers only scan the first few paragraphs of print articles, and often only read the first page of one presented online, it is hard not to suspect that the article was written with bias against the program.

To put the negative points made by the article into context, readers should be reminded that the success so far of the program, which is in its startup phase, is amazing given current economic circumstances. Also, since residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, as part of averting the worst effects of climate change we have no other sane choice but to find ways to enable homeowners and businesses to reduce their own emissions.

Clean Energy Works is a solution that does just that by providing an easy way to finance the necessary energy-saving measures, while at the same time putting people to work.

Lastly, as we begin to experience growing cost and scarcity of energy in general, which could be sooner than we think, Clean Energy Works will be proven to be a real bargain.

Wes Kempfer

Chairman, Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club

Northeast Portland

Say goodbye to drafty houses

In March of this year, our house was dramatically improved with the help of the Clean Energy Works pilot program and Neil Kelly (Long on promise, shy on results, Oct. 14).

I had heard exaggerated predictions from previous improvement contractors, but the immediate results from this program have been unbelievable. The bulk of our remodel was in insulation - additional insulation blown in the attic, insulation blown in the walls and insulation put under the house.

We had no idea how drafty our 1950s house had been. We became used to wearing thick socks every morning to protect against the cold hardwoods, and were able to tune out the sound of the furnace firing throughout the day.

Since the completion of the two-day remodel, our furnace has kicked on a handful of times, costing us less than $15 in gas in seven months. We won't be able to prove the program's proclaimed savings in our bill, prior vs. the $44 month loan payment and occasional gas, because we used to make comfort compensations to save money - setting the thermostat to the occasional high of 66 and piling on the clothes during the winter.

Our only proof of our worthwhile investment is the comfort our family feels on these past cold fall nights in which our home is 70 degrees without the furnace turning on since mid-spring. I am excited to see what little our entire winter natural gas usage will be.

Elizabeth Monzo

Northeast Portland

Program creates efficient homes

As one of the first Clean Energy Works' participants, I must say that the article about the Portland program falls short (Long on promise, shy on results, Oct. 14).

Last January, I signed up for weatherization, floor and attic insulation, and duct and air sealing. The result is a home that is more comfortable and uses less energy.

I also jumped at the chance to install a new energy-efficient furnace and hot water heater under the same low-cost loan payable through NW Natural with no upfront expenses. Since that decision resulted in a larger loan, I expected that my combined utility/loan bill would exceed the previous average monthly amount.

No surprises there. But as energy costs rise over the years, I anticipate breaking even while I am still paying off the loan and a significant savings after that.

Charges for the pre- and post-blower door/duct tests (to determine what work is needed to increase energy efficiency and assess whether the completed work has made a difference) are standard and necessary to meet Energy Trust's requirements for awarding payment of financial incentives and tax credits. These incentives and credits lower the total cost to the homeowners, so I have to ask - what is the problem? Other charges for loan origination fees and an Energy Trust consultant to ensure that homeowners fully understand their options and the cost of their choices also seem reasonable.

I am personally thankful for the Clean Energy Works program and hope other Portlanders talk with someone to see if they will benefit from participating.

Patt Opdyke

North Portland